Alpine retreat

Courchevel Aquatic Centre, French Alps

Nestled within the French Alps at an altitude of 1,500 m the Courchevel Aquatic Centre could not have a more serene setting. Surrounded by an alpine forest within the Tarentaise valley situated below the slopes and village of Courchevel, the resort is a very popular destination for the more discerning skier.


The design by Auer + Weber sought to integrate the building harmoniously into the environment. A double curved roof 120 m x 80 m, emerges from the ground with a minimal supporting frame: 25 columns, two walls and three abutments. Natural light is supplied by full height glazed facades and large incisions, up to 27 m wide, within the roof. The interior spaces, are designed as a series of cascading pools and terraces allowing panoramic views of the landscape.



The final design for the complex roof structure, incorporates the need to withstand substantial snow loading in the winter months but also take into account the fact that the valley was within an earthquake zone. Detailed design iterations of the roof structure enabled it to be adapted to form a green roof in the summer and is connected to surrounding mountains by a footbridge. This enabled the design to meet the topographical, climatic and environmental constraints of the sensitive site.

Innovative and efficient use of galvanized steel

The most effective and lightest way to meet the challenge of large spans, in an earthquake zone as well as handling considerable snow loading, was a steel truss frame. This enabled the design to be achieved with a low structural footprint, while being light weight, and
providing a cost effective solution.

Corrosion protection of the steelwork was of optimal importance. Galvanizing was chosen as it met all the requirements; a 50 year service life, ease of erection, no additional application on site, and the benefit of being able to withstand the transport and erection challenges posed by the site.

Architect: Auer + Weber

Image: Aldo Amoretti, Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure

Posted on May 11, 2016 by untitled

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